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Fresh Picks

The New York Times food columnist tells us what she’s loving right now.

09.15.09 11:07 PM ET

Amanda Hesser

Amanda Hesser is a founder of food52, a cooking site that’s launching this week. She has been a food columnist and editor at The New York Times for more than a decade. Hesser has written two award-winning books— The Cook and the Gardener and Cooking for Mr. Latte—and edited the recently published collection of food essays Eat, Memory. Her next book will be a compilation of recipes from The New York Times going back to the 1850s. Hesser is also a founder of Plodt.com.

Recipe

The queen of all things Mediterranean, Jody Adams, makes the perfect dessert.

I worked for Jody Adams when I was in college and I have a great fondness for her elegant Mediterranean cooking. I’ve made her Lemon-Almond Butter Cake many times. It’s fascinating to watch lemons and eggs form into lemon curd, but if you’re in a hurry, you can use good store-bought lemon curd. When you do make the curd, try it with Meyer lemons.

Restaurant

Voted Best Tapas by New York magazine, this is the place to go for your small-plate fix.

Tía Pol is a tiny sliver of a restaurant in Chelsea, a place that manages to feel both genuinely Spanish and unmistakably New York. Some of my favorite dishes are blistered peppers, octopus terrine, grilled head-on shrimp, salt cod carpaccio salad with romesco, and  patatas bravas. Start with a  rebujito (Manzanilla sherry and Sprite with a twist of lemon) and end with the Basque fried custard.

Cookbook

One conceptual cookbook that will have you challenging all the rules, and have your taste buds loving every second of it.

I page through Italian Two Easy, by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, and their other books from time to time as a way of rebooting the cooking part of my brain. Their books are filled with simple recipes, many so simple they’re more like ideas, and I find the photos inspiring—they give me permission to slice a fingerling potato lengthwise rather than crosswise, to roast rhubarb, to feature great beans as the centerpiece of a salad.

Food Destination

A journey to Sri Lanka is sure to spice things up in new and exciting ways.

The food in Sri Lanka is much like the cuisine in southern India, neither of which we see enough of here. Sri Lankans eat hoppers (coconut crêpes), onto which they pile their curries—and their curries are made with coconut oil, coconut milk, and lots of herbs, which makes them fresh and vibrant. They’re also fiery! A great excuse drinking the local Lion beer.

Plus: Check out Hungry Beast, for more news on the latest restaurants, hot chefs, and tasty recipes.